CHAIRPERSON: Are you ready to ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: Yes Mr Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Just from a process point of view Mr Vally, I do not know if this wouldn't be an appropriate time for Mr Cilliers to place on record his position with regard to this morning in view of developments that have taken place, so that, you know, the record should be straight with regard to it. Mr Cilliers if you could get yourself to a microphone.

Mr Cilliers Mr Vally placed several things on record, one of which was that there had been correspondence between himself and Mr Dolf Malan, who I believe is an attorney instructing your good self, and that this correspondence culminated in a letter of yesterday in which he indicated that since we had not received any application papers, except draft application papers, and the expectation was that your client would have to appear before us at nine o'clock today, that prompted us to concede to Mr Vally's entreaties to us to have Mr Basson's name called out three times outside. And when there was no response from him we were prevailed upon, and we did in fact find that subject to what submissions and representations you might make when you do come, because Mr van Zyl indicated that you might be coming, we were of the prima facie view that there had been a contravention of Section 39 of our Act. That is the view that is on record.

It is now an historical fact that you came almost immediately thereafter and you have remained in attendance. We have since also been told that application papers, in relation to the matter that you had indicated an application would be made had actually been served on us and that seemed to be putting some other colour on the proceedings. It is true that these papers come at a time when we had least expected them because that was not the arrangement, but that is neither here nor there. The papers are with us now and I think that process will have to take place.

Now I thought that it would only be fair if you were given an opportunity now, rather than later, to place your own side of the story on record so that we can deal with this matter and get it out of the way.

MR CILLIERS: As it pleases you Chairperson, thank you for the opportunity.

I didn't see all the correspondence which resulted from the discussions between Mr Chaskalson and Mr Malan, but the import of it, as I understand, was that should the application be served by today then there would be no arrangement for Dr Basson to be present. I received the papers and the original documents, the stamped documents are here, and according to those papers the application was received by the Master yesterday. I have no notification as to when it was served but I heard it was at 09H30 this morning that it was received here. I understood that it was received by the Master yesterday for service, but I can't dispute Mr Vally or Mr Chaskalson's allegation that it was only received this morning. So as far as I am concerned that if the application had been served and received by yourself in time then there would be no necessity for Dr Basson to appear. We made the papers available quite some time ago at our corresponding attorneys and unfortunately it cannot be done by means of a fax because the original signed papers must be served. That is probably what caused the slight delay.

To meet the urgency of the matter we, at an early stage, drafted a draft document in identical terms and sent it by means of a fax to Mr Chaskalson so that if certain answers had to be prepared by your office that you could have ample opportunity to do so. And also to expedite matters we, in respect of the Rule 43 procedures, we deviated from those procedures to save time. It is a time-consuming process. As you know it affords parties 30 days to make records available and give parties time to answer etc. It can take up to three months to prepare the papers.

So by agreement with your office, and I am specifically referring to Mr Chaskalson, we followed the Rule 6 procedure which should the answer be available by tomorrow or today we can reply within a couple of days and we could probably be in court already by next week.

So Dr Basson isn't here in terms of that arrangement, unfortunately, maybe the Deputy Sheriff only served those papers on your office this morning rather than yesterday as he was requested to do.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Cilliers. Mr Vally do you want to respond to that?

MR VALLY: What I have to say is already on record Mr Chair, there is no need to respond again.

CHAIRPERSON: Shall we then take note that it seems to us, sitting from where we are, that there is an explanation for Dr Wouter Basson's absence before us, and that it seems to us that the process that must now take place should be the one that will be consequent upon the outcome of the application before the High Court. And to that extent it seems fair to say, in view of arrangements that had been made in the eventuality of an application of the nature that has now been moved in the High Court, it will not be possible for us to call the evidence of Dr Basson.

MR CILLIERS: As it pleases you.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally if you will take the evidence of Dr Knobel.

MR VALLY: Thank you. General Knobel, just to remind you you are still under oath.

DR KNOBEL: Thank you Mr Vally.


MR VALLY: General Knobel we've been going through some of the documents that you've given us and I want to pursue some of the issues raised in those documents. If we can start with Annexure D.

DR KNOBEL: Mr Vally can I just ask you, has it been clarified that I can discuss the contents of these documents freely?

MR VALLY: I have an understanding with Advocate Arendse that I can discuss these issues with you. If there are issues relating to proliferation in any of the documents either I will on my own, or Mr Arendse will intervene regarding the publication of these documents to the Press.

DR KNOBEL: Thank you.

MR VALLY: I think Adv Arendse can confirm that.

CHAIRPERSON: I think that was placed on record by Adv Arendse during the course of the morning and the panel accepts that that is the position.

DR KNOBEL: Thank you Mr Vally.

MR VALLY: Thank you General Knobel.

General Knobel let's go to Annexure D. Annexure D is a letter from you in response to certain questions asked by the Office for Serious Economic Offences. If you could start off with paragraph 49. Do you have it?

DR KNOBEL: Yes I have it.

MR VALLY: On page 12. Now this letter is dated the 11th of January 1993. Paragraph 49 starts off -

"Information by Brigadier Basson supplied.

Methaqualone was one of the incapacitating agents which was investigated in 1987 as part of the offensive CPOA programme and this substance, as some others which were experimentally manufactured, proved itself to be very good for application in the pyrotechnical format.

In this connection the necessary substances of methaqualone and a number of derivatives thereof were manufactured. The physiological effect on the target persons and experimental animals were determined and a number of mortars or samples were prepared for experimental purposes.

The results thereof were fair or reasonable, although it appeared that the intense excitation and stress and tension which were caused or induced in the target persons during armed skirmishes could lead to the fact that this substance took longer to have the desired effect as what was noticed in experimental cases.

The utilisation of the substance was stopped in 1988".

And then it goes on -

"Since then a far more effective analog was developed by means of further research which should obviate the above drawback".

Now are we to understand from this firstly, that there were experiments done on animals and in people, and in fact it was used in a combat situation, the incapacitant which was made up of, amongst other things, methaqualone?

DR KNOBEL: Yes Mr Vally. Let me just point out to you at that time of course I was not the Surgeon-General in 1987, and this is the reason that the answer here is provided by Brig Basson. As I understood it volunteers of Special Forces but also of 7 Medical Battalion group took part in simulation exercises in which they tested these few mortars to see what the effect would be on humans within battle conditions.

So when you say experimentation it was a voluntary exercise, the type of exercise that I took part in myself at a later stage with regards to CR, not only to test the equipment that we had developed to see if we were protected against it well enough with our equipment, but also to see whether we could endure the effects of CR without using masks and filters and so on.

Now in this particular case I was not involved or present with these exercises but this is the information as was provided to me by Brig Basson in answer to the question of the Office of Serious Economic Offences.

MR VALLY: The first question is this. Whatever experiments on humans that were done were done on volunteers from the Defence Force?


MR VALLY: The experiments on animals, are you aware of what was done regarding that?

DR KNOBEL: Well I take it that the same work that was done at Roodeplaat at a later stage was also done in conjunction with the methaqualone on experimental animals, and again I wasn't involved in it personally, but when he says the physiological effect was tested on animals I think they were exposed to this incapacitant and the effects were studied, presumably at Roodeplaat Research Laboratories.

MR VALLY: And General the skirmish being referred to where this incapacitant was apparently used?

DR KNOBEL: Mr Vally you didn't listen to my answer. I said "simulated battle conditions" were used. That is what is meant by a skirmish here.

MR VALLY: I see. I understood that the normal meaning of "skirmish" is skirmish, but in any event let's go on.

Now the second last sentence on that page -

"The application of this substance was stopped in 1988".

DR KNOBEL: That was the information that I had as well and it is confirmed also by the briefing that we later gave to the Minister, which is also in these documents.

MR VALLY: Which is that methaqualone was not ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: Was in fact not a very effective ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: And therefore you are not going to use it any longer.

DR KNOBEL: That was what was said at the time and also at the briefing to the Minister which you will recall. However, they then started working on a different analog which is the next part of that paragraph.

MR VALLY: Right.

DR KNOBEL: Which was the work that was continued later in lieu of the President's approval that we could continue work on the incapacitating agents.

MR VALLY: If I can understand, when you talk about a different analog, was this analog related to methaqualone at all?

DR KNOBEL: Yes of course.

MR VALLY: I see. Now we have had a number of sources for methaqualone. The one source of methaqualone was what was sent or given to Brig Basson by General Neethling, 200,000 mandrax tablets. We also know that at least a 1000 kilograms of methaqualone was produced at Delta-G. If we had the capacity and were in fact producing it at Delta-G why in 1992 and 1993 at great cost were we endeavouring to import it from Croatia?

DR KNOBEL: Mr Vally I think there's a misunderstanding here. The way I understood was initially, the initial work on methaqualone was done on the methaqualone which was extracted from the mandrax tablets that we were referring to this morning and which was dealt with in quite a lot of detail by General Neethling, and the impression I got when he gave his evidence is that 200,000 tablets in fact produces very little of the basic ground substance that you require.

The production, as far as I am concerned, and it is also written in this letter to the OSEO was done at Delta-G Scientific. We were informed at the Command Council meeting, or rather the Coordinating Management Committee level, that the purity of the methaqualone that was obtained was not adequate and that they were going to look for a different source overseas. And that work that you are referring to was actually done in 1991. The problem that arose was dealt with in '92/'93 as you will have gathered from the documents that I made available to you about the Croatian incident.

But when we briefed the Minister in 1993, Minister Louw, in that briefing you will see that we report that there is methaqualone available on the shelf, as it were, on the shelf. That was the document of November '92 which said, what did we have in our possession and we reported that to the Minister. To my mind that, or to my satisfaction that was the total quantity of methaqualone that we had available, which is the quantity which was then destroyed after the Minister gave permission to us to destroy it.

You will notice, just if I may point out, to paragraph 51 of the document we are looking at, at the moment, we are talking there about "rooe materiale", in other words the basic ground substances. Possibly Professor Folb can help us with a better word than ground substances. But that had to be of a pure nature from which the methaqualone derivative or analog could then be produced.

MR VALLY: So the project regarding methaqualone was not in fact stopped, the research into methaqualone?

DR KNOBEL: No I have already said to you just now that the President approved that we could continue with different analogues, which is reported here to the OSEO, and it had been done, and then when the Minister was briefed and told about the implications of having incapacitants in terms of the new convention that we were about to sign in Paris, he instructed us to destroy what we had, which, to the best of my knowledge, was carried out.

MR VALLY: Is there any documentation, any report anywhere which said that the methaqualone which was produced at Delta-G was not of sufficient quality which necessitated the importation of methaqualone?

DR KNOBEL: No, not to my knowledge. I believe it was a verbal report by the project officer.

MR VALLY: And that's Brig Basson?

DR KNOBEL: At the level of the Coordinating Management Committee, yes.

MR VALLY: And do you know when this happened?

DR KNOBEL: No Mr Vally I won't be able to fix a date to it, but I should think it was after the 1987 work was done. Remember I said to you just now I was then not the Surgeon-General as yet, so I take it that it was at that stage. Certainly when I took over as Surgeon-General and I had a briefing by the project officer, I was brought up to date with this information and I was told that the project was now continuing on other analogues for which certain production was done at Delta-G and for which we were going to import through Organichem a purer methaqualone variant from Croatia.

MR VALLY: Well let's look at paragraph 50 of that same document. You go on, I'm talking about the second last sentence of paragraph 50.


MR VALLY: "The programme was further, with the knowledge of the Minister of Law and Order, the Commissioner of Police and staff appointed by them to monitor the programme and to assist, carried out by them".

Are we to understand that the Minister of Law and Order, and the Commissioner of Police were aware that Delta-G was producing methaqualone?

DR KNOBEL: Yes certainly. The impression I had was that there was a document. I was informed that there was a document of approval that methaqualone could be worked on at Delta-G and that that document had been signed by both the Minister of Police as well as the Commissioner of Police.

MR VALLY: Have you ever seen that document?

DR KNOBEL: No, I have not.

MR VALLY: Are you aware of whether that meets the legal requirements in terms of the Medicines Control Act?

DR KNOBEL: Well Mr Vally I have nothing more to say than what General Neethling said in this regard. I was satisfied that the previous Surgeon-General had informed me that he had the permission from both the Minister and the Commissioner of Police. I was assured that that permission was on a document. I had not seen that document. I had in fact asked for the document and I have never been given such a document.

MR VALLY: Are you aware of what kind of assistance these personnel being referred to here offered the project?

DR KNOBEL: No I think what is referred to here is the delivery of the mandrax from which it was extracted initially and making it available to Delta-G. I think that is what is referred to here.

At a later stage you will remember when we briefed the Minister, the Minister, in view of the briefing that we gave us, indicated that we should also get support from the Police service, from the forensic laboratory, of a policeman to accompany the flight that actually destroyed the quantities. You will remember that.

You will also remember that in that Coordinating Management Committee meeting that it is reported that the police at that stage did not want to be involved in the destruction process and instead of a policeman we then asked somebody from the Counter-Intelligence department to accompany the flight, which was I think a Commandant de Bruin. Afterwards the police did agree that we could use the Forensic laboratory to determine the contents of the various plastic drums and we have that certificate which was issued by the Forensic laboratory.

That's the kind of assistance, I think, that is being referred to here.

MR VALLY: We'll come back to the destruction in a short while. That same letter, if you could go to paragraph 4B -

"The Surgeon-General was directly responsible for the development of front companies and was...."

DR KNOBEL: Which page are you referring to here Mr Vally?

MR VALLY: I am so sorry. If you go towards the beginning ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: You said paragraph 4B?


DR KNOBEL: That's below question 2.

MR VALLY: That's right.

DR KNOBEL: Well 4B doesn't say anything about Surgeon-General. It says -

"Technology development programmes under the control of the Surgeon-General".

MR VALLY: Well what do you understand by that?

DR KNOBEL: Mr Vally any technology within a medical service within a Defence Force that has to be developed is under the control of the Surgeon-General. Any development, whether it be field ambulances or armoured vehicles that are used for evacuation of casualties, whether it be a new medical bag that can be dropped by parachute, that's technology that is being developed.

MR VALLY: Well let's talk about what this issue was about. The whole question was, "was involved in the management and handling of sensitive projects", and we have been talking - this whole hearing has been centring around chemical and biological warfare under the cover of Project Coast. The question is this - the technological development relating to Project Coast, did that fall under the control of the Surgeon-General?


MR VALLY: So you should have been kept aware at all stages of whatever developments had been taking place both on the chemical front and the biological front.

DR KNOBEL: Certainly, but that was only one project of the Medical Service. There were many, many others that this officer was also responsible for.

MR VALLY: Well let's talk specifically about that. Yet on the chemical and biological side you were not the expert, you were reliant on Brig Basson.

DR KNOBEL: Certainly. If you read this paragraph you will see that this says, "since April '81". I only joined the National Defence Force, or the South African Defence Force in January '81, and I have already testified to you that the first year I was totally involved in a staff course at the Army College and my next year in the Joint Staff course at the Joint Staff College. My first introduction to this project was from 1983 onwards. It was then under the control of General Niewoudt until 1988, and I took over in March 1988. So certainly, but there were many other projects also within the Medical Service.

It here refers specifically to the question with regards to sensitive projects.

MR VALLY: Right.

DR KNOBEL: Any new development in a military environment is of a secret nature.

MR VALLY: Well let's restrain ourselves to Project Coast.

DR KNOBEL: Surely.

MR VALLY: If - we go on, if you look at page 7 paragraph 23 the same document, the controlling body, the Coordinating Management Committee, the group of generals that we've referred to in the past ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: After '88 they met once a year to approve the budget. So the question is, who apart from Brig Basson was briefed and kept abreast of the activities of the programme?

DR KNOBEL: Certainly I had to be briefed and also the Chief of the Defence Force. The full Coordinating Management Committee met really only for budgetary purposes after '81. As I indicated here Mr Vally, when I took over as Surgeon-General the first thing that I did with regards to this project was to get a full briefing on it and to find out exactly where we stood with regards to achieving the objectives which had been approved for this particular project. I then was satisfied that we had achieved most of our objectives.

Secondly, the threat that existed before and it was perceived to exist within Angola, and particularly within the surrogate forces, the Cuban forces and so on, was diminishing because the Defence Force were involved in the negotiating process which led to the withdrawal of the Cubans from Angola.

Thirdly, the budgetary allocation to the project was being reduced because of general budgetary cuts within the Defence Force. My attitude was that, as far as I could determine, certainly with regards to the defensive equipment that had been developed, we had satisfied all the objectives.

However, as I indicated in some other documents and as I indicated to you with regard to the briefing to the State President later on, South Africa was moving towards a negotiating process. We were involved in - or we were very much aware of mass action and riot control and emergency situations which were declared by the President, and the emphasis then turned to what we called "dual use" chemical agents. CR was already available as an outstanding anti-riot agent, but also as an alternative to a retaliatory agent which could be used on the battlefield. The battlefield threat was diminishing, the riot situation was increasing. That is why the emphasis fell onto the incapacitating agents and the four varieties that were investigated.

So what I am saying here is, for that purpose the project had to continue, the Coordinating Management Committee overruled my suggestion that we should consider beginning to scale it down and begin with the privatisation and commercialisation process immediately; that we should continue with the incapacitating agents. When the briefing was given to the President he confirmed that and he also gave the indication that we should continue.

At the same time you must remember I was the advisor to the Department of Foreign Affairs with regards to what was happening on the international front in terms of the convention. In 1989, a year after I became Surgeon-General, I accompanied Mr Pik Botha to a conference in Paris where the countries that had signed the original chemical weapons convention, the old 1925 Protocol, and many other countries had decided that that Protocol was redundant, that it was not wide enough, it didn't cover the field properly, and a new chemical convention would have to be designed and signed. That was in 1989.

At that time I was given the responsibility, as was my predecessor, to ensure that whatever happens in the project takes place within the parameters of the existing conventions as well as this convention which was going to be signed in the future. So we literally had from 1989 until the actual convention was signed. The convention, as you know, was signed in 1993 and you know what happened when we were due to sign it and what I reported to the Minister.

So I am saying the Coordinating Management Committee met on an annual basis to approve the budget but there were other meetings held where it was mainly the Chief of the Defence Force and mainly the Chief of Staff, Finance and the Chief of Staff, Intelligence, and myself that had briefings from the project officer about what progress was made with regard to the project.

MR VALLY: I want to come back to Annexure E which deals with the destruction of documents. What I need to know - not documents, I beg your pardon, destruction of the substances, ostensibly the substances which were dropped into the ocean. Can you briefly tell me who was responsible for taking samples out of the drums which were subsequently dropped into the ocean?

DR KNOBEL: No Mr Vally I am not quite sure whether I can ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: Alright ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: It was reported to us that the samples were taken in the presence of Commandant de Bruin. Whether it was taken by Brig Basson himself or not I can't verify.

MR VALLY: So ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: In fact I think if we look at the minutes of the Coordinating Management Committee we might be able to get the answer to that. I have given you all the minutes.

MR VALLY: Because the possibility exists that Brig Basson himself ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: No I beg your pardon - sorry Mr Vally.


DR KNOBEL: If you look at the minutes of the meeting of the 29th of January '93, which is in this Annexure here.


DR KNOBEL: If you page to paragraph 6.

MR VALLY: Right.

DR KNOBEL: Brigadier Basson reports -

"During the destruction samples were taken by the representative of HDTI for identification if possible".

In other words he states there that Commandant de Bruin took the samples.

MR VALLY: I am sorry, who is HDTI?

DR KNOBEL: "Hoof direkteur teeninligting", that's a subdivision of Chief of Staff, Intelligence.

MR VALLY: Right. But this was Brig Basson's report.

DR KNOBEL: This is what he reports at the Coordinating Management ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: Right, and do you have any confirmation of that anywhere?

DR KNOBEL: No Sir, this is the confirmation I have.

MR VALLY: Which is Brig Basson saying yes, we took samples and yes there were these items.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: So if he misled you, you wouldn't know whether the items, and we are talking methaqualone, we are talking ecstasy etc, were in fact destroyed or not?

DR KNOBEL: Yes I suppose so Mr Vally.

MS SOOKA: I think General the question perhaps one should ask is, besides Brig Basson, was there an independent witness to the destruction of these substances? Apart from Brig Basson of course.

DR KNOBEL: Ms Sooka if you look in the same appendix there were certainly Air Force personnel that flew the aircraft and cabin personnel that had to assist the opening of the hatch so that the containers could be put into the sea. Furthermore Commandant de Bruin was there on behalf of the Director of Counter-Intelligence, Chief Director of Counter Intelligence of the Chief of Staff Intelligence. Who else was present I don't know, but I think there were sufficient number of witnesses to the fact that the aircraft flew out, that those drums had been pushed into the sea and that samples had been taken by de Bruin. Certainly, from my perspective, there was more than sufficient evidence that - I had no reason to doubt that that had in fact taken place.

DR ORR: Dr Randera.

DR RANDERA: General just remind me, wasn't this already at a time when there was suspicion in your own mind about Brig Basson's involvement ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: Dr Randera no, you are right ...(intervention)

DR RANDERA: So I just - so it's just a yes or no answer, yes there was some suspicion ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: Well it's very close. You see there was suspicion obviously because of the fact that he had been dismissed by the President.


DR KNOBEL: His dismissal was only going to take place two months later though.

DR RANDERA: But yet he is put in charge of going and dumping this - and taking the samples. Now of course you know you can throw it back at me and say it was all based on trust at the time, but it - you know it does sound a little suspicious that the person who is actually perhaps involved, "perhaps" and I am putting the "perhaps" in, is then put in charge of dumping the stuff as well and taking the samples.

DR KNOBEL: No Sir. The samples were taken by, according to his evidence, by Dr de Bruin. But Dr Randera you must also be reasonable. Suspicion at the time was considered by General Liebenberg to be of no significance. As I testified the other day he assured me that the d'Oliviera Commission would be looking into it. I had just received the letter from the OSEO, the very one that we discussed a few minutes ago. After the briefing to the Minister I have informed the Minister about the letter that I received from OSEO, and in fact I gave him a copy of the letter and my reply.

So, yes, there was sufficient suspicion in my mind, or uncertainty in my mind that I wanted to bring this to the attention of the Minister. But on those grounds to now say under no circumstances will this officer be involved in any further activity of this project, that's a different matter altogether.

DR RANDERA: Sorry I did actually pose this question to you last time.

DR KNOBEL: Yes I know you did.

DR RANDERA: But this is the President of the country has decided that this man needs to be dismissed, so we are not talking about somebody who is not in an executive position. I mean the highest executive in the country has decided. Now I know, I've looked at some of the documents that have come from the Steyn report, and you can tell me it was based on suspicion, but nonetheless there were question marks being posed. Suspicions yes, but the President of the country has decided. Now are you implying or saying to us that perhaps there's another grouping in the Army that really were not taking the President's word into consideration, but were saying, well no, no we'll continue because this is still suspicion and although you've dismissed him, you've brought him back in another capacity you still put him in charge in doing things that are of a very important and serious nature.

DR KNOBEL: Dr Randera, certainly with the wisdom of hindsight I might agree with you, but let me just try and explain to you what the position was at the time.

I confronted Dr Basson directly about the dismissal as a result of the so-called Steyn Report. I was assured by him that there was no foundation, that he had not been charged with anything, he was not even given the opportunity to reply to any questions. I had not seen the contents of the Steyn report as I testified to you the other day. I did in fact not see that staff paper until '97 ...(intervention)

DR RANDERA: General let me just ask you another question. Do you have any information - Brig Basson was not the only person dismissed at the time from the army.


DR RANDERA: Many, very many generals were, were ...(intervention)


DR RANDERA: ...were dismissed.

DR KNOBEL: 23 senior officers.

DR RANDERA: Now were any of those generals re-employed in very important positions? And General you know you can tell me in retrospect and with hindsight you can be wise, but were there any other generals, was there any other general brought back to a position of responsibility? I mean you're not - we are listening here not only about the destruction of - alleged destruction of a 1000 kgs of ecstasy and mandrax. We've heard early on about how the contract to put all the information on disk by Dr Mijburgh's company is also given by Brig Basson to Dr Mijburgh, and that's also after he's been dismissed.

DR KNOBEL: And furthermore the present President of the country ...(intervention)

DR RANDERA: No, no, no, no, no, sorry let's leave the present President out of the debate and discussion, General I am posing the question to you, not to ...(intervention)

COUNSEL FOR KNOBEL: Doctor I object, let my client please finish answering the question. Thank you.

DR KNOBEL: Dr Randera I think you are a bit unfair. I explained to you that I had some misgivings. I even tried to see the President personally. I wanted to clarify the position about the identity of the Basson that was dismissed because there was a lot of uncertainty in my mind as to whether ...(intervention)

DR ORR: I don't mean to interrupt your answer, but you are not answering the question ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: No, but I am about ...(intervention)

DR ORR: ...he asked if any other senior officers were given positions of such responsibility after they had been dismissed. The answer is yes or no.

DR KNOBEL: No I am sorry Madam Acting Chair, if you are not going to allow me to explain the circumstances then I will not answer the question. I am not aware of anybody else that had been reappointed. I do know that some of those other officers successfully took action, legal action against the State for dismissing them unfairly. But if you are not going to allow me to answer the question then by all means say so and then I will only say yes or no.

DR ORR: Well you have answered the question and you have answered that no other senior officers were so-appointed.

DR KNOBEL: I am not aware of whether any other officers were re-employed. But certainly this one was re-employed and also with the approval of the present State President.

DR ORR: Ms Sooka.

MS SOOKA: General, I have just been reading through that document and I wonder if you received an explanation from Mr de Bruin about how this process was actually done. Because just reading it through, and some of it is quite faint, it seems that samples were taken from these drums and it looks like they were handed back to Brig Basson and he then I think later did some tests on them and that was given back to Mr de Bruin. So you know it seems like all the kind of proof that one needs that this was the actual substance that was destroyed all the testing seems to be done by Brig Basson. Now can you help me out a little bit with that ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: No, no, the testing wasn't done by - you mean the actual sampling?


DR KNOBEL: No that's not as I understood it. The report that were given here was that it was taken by Commandant de Bruin, and if you read that paragraph further you will see that the Chief of the Defence Force indicated that Chief of Staff, or Chief Director Counter Intelligence should retain those samples until after the destruction was confirmed to the Minister, and if the Minister had no further reasons to keep those samples they could then be destroyed. That was the information that we had.

MS SOOKA: If you read the handwriting in pen it says ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: Oh you mean in the destruction report as such?

MS SOOKA: Yes, yes, yes.


MS SOOKA: It says -

"The three samples were later handed to Commandant de Bruin after they were....."

and I can't actually read, ja...

"The samples were taken on the day of the destruction....."

and that is signed by Brig Basson. So it's a little confusing about how this process actually took place.

DR KNOBEL: If you read the main document Ms Sooka, if you look at paragraph 3, this document was drawn up by Commandant de Bruin, it is signed by Commandant de Bruin, at the top of page 4 -

"The samples were taken from four of the drums and are currently in my possession. On the 30 March Brig Basson handed over three further samples to me and those are also currently in my position".

The reason that was done was that all three of those substances were dangerous substances and had to be deactivated and this is what Basson writes at the bottom here. He says -

"The three samples were later handed over after they were deactivated".

I agree with you that that seems a strange way of doing it. I would have personally been happier if that had not taken place.

MS SOOKA: So I just want to get it right. The samples were taken on the day but he then keeps those samples until they are deactivated and then he gives them over.

DR KNOBEL: No, no, no it's not right Ms Sooka. If you take paragraph 3, let's read the whole paragraph. Do you understand Afrikaans?

MS SOOKA: Yes I do.


"The content of the load was supplied on the 30th of March 1993 by Brig Basson".

That means all the big drums are available ...(intervention)

MS SOOKA: Sorry General I've read all that part. Just explain to me what those "opmerkings" actually mean please.

DR KNOBEL: It means that three further samples were taken, over and above the ones that had already been taken by Commandant de Bruin. You remember it says there de Bruin had the samples that he had taken in his possession. They never left his possession.

MS SOOKA: Yes, but it then goes on to say ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: Three further samples.

MS SOOKA: ...(indistinct)

MR VALLY: I am sorry if I could just, on this very issue, I am sorry Ms Sooka, we are trying to determine what was in fact thrown out of the plane into the sea. To follow up what Ms Sooka is saying, at the bottom of the page, page E3 -

"The samples were taken out of three of these blue plastic drums and are currently in my possession".

Samples were taken and is in my possession.


MR VALLY: Not "ek het die monsters geneem". That's the first question.

The second question the following sentence -

"On the 30th of March Brig Basson handed over three further samples (one each of products BC and BX) and handed over to me".

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: Where he got it from, when he took it is not clear. So we've got three samples which he has in his possession which were taken, but he doesn't say, "I took them", this is now Commandant de Bruin.

DR KNOBEL: No, but in the minutes of the Coordinating Management Committee meeting Brig Basson reports that Commandant de Bruin took ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: That's the point. That's Brig Basson's version. I am saying this is the actual version signed by de Bruin.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: He says three samples were taken and are in my possession. Not "I took them", that's the first question.

The second question, he says on 30th March Brig Basson gave me three further samples.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: Now when he took it, where he took it from, that's not clear.

DR KNOBEL: Well he says there that it was taken on the day of the destruction.

MR VALLY: Right. But he gave it to Commandant de Bruin.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: So what was in the drums is the same thing as he gave Commandant de Bruin, those three samples, that's not clear.

DR KNOBEL: Mr Vally but surely if we call upon Commandant de Bruin to give us the information we could clarify that quickly ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: Possibly, but I am posing to you at this point that we don't have unambiguous evidence that the drums that were dropped into the sea contained the substances they were supposed to have contained.

Let's go into the "opmerkings" that Ms Sooka was asking you about.

"The three samples were later handed to Commandant de Bruin after they were deactivated. The samples were taken on the day of the destruction".

and that's got Brig Basson's signature there.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: The implication again is that whatever Commandant de Bruin was looking at was supplied to him by Brig Basson.

DR KNOBEL: No, I don't agree with that Mr Vally. We have two sets of samples here. We have samples that were in the possession of Commandant de Bruin and that he kept in his possession and that the Chief of the National Defence Force said should be kept by him at the Chief of Counter Intelligence's office, in addition to the three that he was given by Basson. That's what we have here.

MR VALLY: Well we are not going to get much further on this issue. You know for me there's two dates, the first date is the 27th of January 1993 and I will read that to you.

"Brig Basson upon arrival at 28 Squadron..."

DR KNOBEL: Which document are you referring to now?

MR VALLY: ....document.

DR KNOBEL: Oh yes I am sorry, yes.

MR VALLY: Sorry, let's start again.

DR KNOBEL: Paragraph 3, yes, okay.

MR VALLY: E3, the second last sentence.

"Brig Basson arrived there on the 27th of January 1993 and insisted...."

he says that they must take out samples from the blue plastic holders. This is now Brig Basson on the 27th of January.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: That's the date. Then it says the sample is taken out of four of the plastic drums.

DR KNOBEL: "And is in my possession".

MR VALLY: "And is presently in my possession".


MR VALLY: Letter dated 30th of March. Then it goes on to say, on the 30th of March Brig Basson gave me three further samples, one each of products BC and BX.


MR VALLY: "Gave it to me and those are presently in my possession". So we have samples ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: He has now got seven samples if I read this correctly.

MR VALLY: Well - yes that's right. We've got samples taken on the 27th of January and we've got samples given to him ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: On the 30th of ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: On the day of destruction.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: By Brig Basson.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct. No Mr Vally you are not right. Given on the 30th, taken on the 27th, according to what Brig Basson says here.

MR VALLY: Well maybe we need to get clarity on that, because it says in Commandant de Bruin's statement, and I am talking about the first sentence on page 2 -

"On the 30th of March 1993 Brig Basson, three further samples..."

DR KNOBEL: That's exactly what I said Mr Vally.

MR VALLY: Fine. One each of those products.

DR KNOBEL: "Which is also now in my possession..." and the letter is dated the 30th of March.

MR VALLY: Right. So for all we know Brig Basson may have got it from somewhere else.

DR KNOBEL: That's a possibility, yes.

MR VALLY: Yes. And therefore on the day the drums were dropped into the sea, which is the 30th of March ...(intervention)

DR KNOBEL: No, which was the 27th of March.

MR VALLY: I beg your pardon, I beg your pardon.

DR KNOBEL: If you look at the first paragraph of that letter.


DR KNOBEL: "On the 27th....", I beg your pardon, "On the 27th of January..." ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: Right.

DR KNOBEL: "...destroyed in my presence".

MR VALLY: Okay sorry, I beg your pardon. You are right.

DR KNOBEL: You see what I mean now.

MR VALLY: Yes, yes.

DR KNOBEL: But the letter, the certificate that we have here was signed on the 30th of March.

MR VALLY: Yes. But why did Brig Basson give the further three samples on the 30th of March to Commandant de Bruin?

DR KNOBEL: I have no idea, I think we should clarify that ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: If the items were allegedly destroyed already.

DR KNOBEL: I beg your pardon Mr Vally.

MR VALLY: If the drums were allegedly already in the sea.

DR KNOBEL: Yes but he says that he also took those samples on the 27th of January, at the day of the destruction. He says so.

MR VALLY: He says he had it in his possession. He didn't say he took it. Alright.

DR KNOBEL: Mr Vally please ...(intervention)


DR KNOBEL: Brigadier Basson says -

"The samples were taken on the day of the destruction".

that was the 27th of January.

MR VALLY: Brig Basson says that.

DR KNOBEL: He says that.

MR VALLY: Right.

DR KNOBEL: This is what ...(intervention)

MR VALLY: Well that's the whole point. The question we are asking is, can we trust Brig Basson?

DR KNOBEL: At the time I didn't have, and certainly the Chief of the Defence Force, and certainly the entire Coordinating Management Committee did not think that there was any reason to doubt his word.

MR VALLY: We are talking 30th March 1993 now.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally the two Commissioners would like to clarify some questions in the light of the evidence just led, Dr Randera and thereafter Mrs Sooka.

DR RANDERA: General just, I mean we have got to the samples now and clearly there seems to be an understanding of trust, distrust that's taken place, now what happens to these samples?

DR KNOBEL: The samples were ...(intervention)

DR RANDERA: And where are they? Were they tested?

DR KNOBEL: Yes Sir, yes Sir they were then taken to the Forensic laboratory of the Police and you have attached to this document the affidavit of, I think it was a Brigadier, yes Brig Strauss who says that he received these samples from Colonel Steyn. So what happened here is the samples were then handed over by Commandant de Bruin to Colonel Steyn. Colonel Steyn took it to the Forensic laboratory, they tested each of these samples and they - rather Brig Strauss then confirmed what the contents were of each of the samples.


DR RANDERA: No I am fine.


MS SOOKA: General you see it actually gets quite strange because these things are destroyed on the 27th of January, but we've got samples taken firstly by - the first four samples, then later we have the next three samples.


MS SOOKA: My understanding of the way this reads is that some of these samples are kept by Commander de Bruin. But then in paragraph 4 he says -

"Please make a decision regarding what we must about these samples".

Then you get the remarks of Brig Basson which says, the three that he had they are later given to Commandant de Bruin because they are now deactivated.


MS SOOKA: And he tells de Bruin that these were taken on the day of the destruction. So everything is Basson, Basson, Basson. Now we don't know where these are kept, but the date when they are actually tested is on the 3rd of May 1993. Now I find that very difficult because here we are, we are talking about the destruction of substances which have quite a serious problem. They are a serious problem for your particular unit. If I was in charge I would want to see them tested on the same day. I would want to see that the samples I take, I test them immediately and I make sure that I follow them all the way out to the sea if I can, to make sure that they disposed off. I can't understand all these delays in the process but also the reliance on Brigadier Basson, knowing at that time that there's a huge question mark around him.

DR KNOBEL: I'm not so sure about the huge question mark but we won't discuss that again. I've already given an answer to that. But if you look at the chronology here Miss Sooka, the minutes of the meetings of the Coordinating Management Committee meeting is the 29th of January, that is two days after the actual destruction took place. In those minutes Brigadier Basson gives feedback in paragraph 5 about what had occurred, he indicates that the police were not prepared to go along with the flight, that we would ask the Director of Counter Intelligence to issue a certificate. He also says that they took samples.

The Chief of the Defence Force then says it should be kept by the Chief Director of Counter Intelligence until the destruction has been confirmed to the Minister and if he then has no further problems with it then the samples can be destroyed. That's the instruction of the Chief of the Defence Force.

When the feedback was given to the Minister we said: "Well what do we do with these samples, let's get confirmation of what is in it". Chief of Counter Intelligence doesn't have a laboratory capability, so the negotiations take place with the police service to see if they would be prepared to do this for us. That did take some time, you're quite right but we do have a certificate then which is available on the 30th of March and we have a document signed by Brigadier Strauss who says when did he actually test them.

MS SOOKA: Yes, but may I just ask another question? You see it says he took the following - he just talks about:

"die volgende verseelde monsters"

Now which is it, the three, the four? I'm not sure you see, you can't tell that from this document.

DR KNOBEL: He says he has a holder - if you look at Brigadier Strauss's document he says:

"A container marked amongst others, product B, container marked product BX, 1 marked product C and one with no alphabetic identification".

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Miss Sooka?

MS SOOKA: I think General, the point is you don't know which of the samples it is. Which are the ones he tests, does he test the first four that were taken, does he test the three that were later given? I can't make it out but I don't think we are going to get anywhere with this inquiry so perhaps I should just hold this, thank you.

DR KNOBEL: But if I may Mr Chairman. If you look at the certificate issued by Commandant de Bruyn, it says in paragraph 2:

"The cargo consisted of the following: 18 drums (product M), 73 white metal drums (product BX), 2 metal drums (product C), 2 small plastic containers (product F), 2 small metal drums (product C)".

And then he speaks about:

"B and B"

Those alphabetical indications in my opinion correspond to what Brigadier Strauss says in terms of B, BX and C. And certainly from a point of view of myself and the Coordinating Management Committee, B was the BZ analogue, BX was the baxil and C was the cocaine that we had reported before to the Minister. At the time we were satisfied that that was the fact, it had been destroyed. I will admit that there are some uncertainties here and I understand the questions.


MR VALLY: Can I just ask you about, in that same bundle E3, the affidavit by Heinderich Frederich Strauss who was a Brigadier in the South African Police in the forensic laboratory, paragraph 3, do you know the document I'm talking about?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, I think so.

MR VALLY: He says: on the 3rd of May 1993 from Colonel Steyn he got the following sealed ...[intervention]

DR KNOBEL: I read that just now, yes, that's correct.

MR VALLY: Now the 3rd of May, is that the only time it was analysed?

DR KNOBEL: Mr Vally, that was the time that the forensic laboratory found time to do these investigations.

MR VALLY: Fair enough, alright. Well, let's take it further, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4, he says:

"3.1 A container marked: Product B

3.2 A container marked: Product BX

3.3 A container marked: Product C


3.4 A container with no alphabetical identification"


MR VALLY: Do you see that?

DR KNOBEL: Yes. Firstly, Colonel Steyn, is Colonel Steyn the gentleman who is your assistant?

DR KNOBEL: He took over as Project Officer on the 1st of April 1993.

MR VALLY: Right, so he's the person who hands this over, and do we know how it gets to him?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, he can testify to that, I questioned him about it. He fetched the samples which were still at the Director of Counter Intelligence and physically took it to the forensic laboratory.

MR VALLY: Right. Clearly from the way the samples are marked in paragraph 3 of Brigadier Strauss' affidavit, that ties in very closely with this document by Commandant de Bruyn:

"On the 30th of March 1993, Brigadier Basson gave me three further samples: (1 each of products B, C, and BX)


MR VALLY: How would he know that on the 30th of March? How would Commandant de Bruyn know that the three further samples given to him on the 30th of March by Brigadier Basson were these items that we're talking about because they had not been analysed?

DR KNOBEL: He's simply using the alphabetical indication of the holders that had been marked in that way.

MR VALLY: Exactly. So that these samples, and there are four samples which were tested by the forensic laboratory by Brigadier Strauss, one with product B, one with product BX, one with product C, all three items supplied by Brigadier Basson.

DR KNOBEL: In addition to the four.

MR VALLY: And a fourth container with no alphabetical identification.

DR KNOBEL: Yes, but it's in addition to the four that Commandant de Bruyn had in his possession.

MR VALLY: Why do we say that?

DR KNOBEL: Because those were the samples that were handed over to the forensic laboratory.

DR KNOBEL: Is there a reference to another four samples handed in anywhere?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, if you look at the top of page 2 of the document by Commandant de Bruyn, he says:

"Four of the plastic drums were taken, samples were taken and is in my possession"

MR VALLY: I understand but I'm trying to work out what happened to those four samples.

DR KNOBEL: I think what we should do is we should get Commandant de Bruyn to come and testify here.

MR VALLY: Possibly.

DR KNOBEL: Then you maybe will find out exactly.

MR VALLY: In terms of the documentation supplied to us at the moment, Brigadier Strauss was only given on the 30th of May 1993 by Colonel Steyn, four samples, one marked product B, one marked product BX, one marked product C. These were the one supplied by Brigadier Basson, we can work that out, and with no identification on it. Can we accept that as being the logical ...[intervention]

DR KNOBEL: This is what he declares here, yes.



MR VALLY: And he's the person who did the analysis and determined what the substances were?


MR VALLY: And so this report to the Coordinating Management Committee which I believe was on the 29th of January, is that right?

DR KNOBEL: 29th of January, yes.

MR VALLY: At that stage they didn't know what was in the samples at all.

DR KNOBEL: Not yet, they were waiting for the report of the - if you look at the meeting of the 31st of March of the Coordinating Management Committee which is also in that folder.


DR KNOBEL: Paragraph 5, the certificate:

"Brigadier Basson handed over the destruction certificate to me. The sample is still in the possession of the security officer and Basson once again confirmed that the samples were taken by the security officer himself. After a long discussion it was decided that GG would request Compol to analyse these samples at the forensic laboratory and afterwards to destroy the certificates"

Now you see the chronological process that was followed here?


DR KNOBEL: That's why the tests were only done after the 30th or 31st of March.

MR VALLY: And that concerns me even more but if we can get some explanation, what does it mean to deactivate these samples?

DR KNOBEL: I think we should ask Professor Folb what that means, I don't know ...[intervention]

MR VALLY: Well, the question that I'm asking is in fact a question that Professor Folb is also asking. What did it mean when Brigadier Basson said that:

"I deactivated these samples"

DR KNOBEL: I've no idea what that means.

MR VALLY: Now let's go on to the time when you were called back from a conference overseas. I think you were in London and you were appointed acting head of the South African Defence Force when all the Generals were suspended, including Brigadier Basson, do you recall that?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, I do but they were not all Generals Mr Vally, there was 23 senior officers.

MR VALLY: I beg your pardon, 23 senior officers. And when was this? I tried to see a date in your statement.

DR KNOBEL: The conference that I attended in America is usually the first two weeks in November and I was on my way back to South African and I went to visit a pharmaceutical plant in Nottingham, so this was towards the end of November.

MR VALLY: Alright. It appears to have been sometime in December 1992 apparently.

DR KNOBEL: Yes, in December I was appointed as Acting Chief of the Defence Force, on my return.

MR VALLY: Right. Now, if you go to document TRC111 which was the preparatory document by General Steyn.

DR KNOBEL: Yes, Sir?

MR VALLY: And if you look at page B12.

DR KNOBEL: Right, B12?

MR VALLY: That's right. And I assume by this stage this information was already with at least certain elements in Defence Force, at least General Steyn knew about this information?


MR VALLY: B12, the 3rd paragraph which reads:

"Information supplied by sources"

and you read the last sentence:

"Wouter Basson"

and it's not clear, it looks like: "who" on mine:

"also in respect of a hundred thousand mandrax tablets per month for year, he offered this"

and in brackets next to it:


Do you see what I'm referring to?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, yes, I've got it.

MR VALLY: When you were acting head of the Defence Force for a short period, were you aware of this allegation?

DR KNOBEL: Of course not, I have already testified to that effect. I've testified twice already that when I discussed it with General Steyn, he indicated to me that he could not make known to me the contents of his report to Mr de Klerk. When I tried to discuss it with Mr de Klerk, he refused to see me. When I wanted to have access to the so-called report, it was not made available. Even today we're not sure if there was an actual report, as you well know. This particular document I indicated to you in my affidavit, I've been given a copy of, a translated copy of by National Intelligence in, I think the date is written on it, it's one of the documents that I've given you ...[intervention]

MR VALLY: I think you said '97.

DR KNOBEL: Yes, the date is actually written on it. That was the very first time that I had insight into the so-called Steyn Report or at least into the staff paper used by General Steyn.

MR VALLY: In any event there must have been people within the military for General Steyn to have made this allegation about a hundred thousand mandrax tablets being offered per month. There must have been a basis for such an allegation.

DR KNOBEL: There might have been, I have no idea.

MR VALLY: Which was within the knowledge of at least General Steyn?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, that is true.

MR VALLY: Mr Chairperson, we are going to be some time still, so I need to ascertain whether we are going to finish early and continue tomorrow. We're not going to be able to finish, even if we were to sit till late today.

CHAIRPERSON: What do you want to do Mr Vally, what's your preference?

MR VALLY: Well, if we can carry on until at least four thirty and then, unless you want us to carry on much later and try and finish?

CHAIRPERSON: Well if it is your view that you are still going to much longer and that even if we sat late we would not be able to finish, this matter was set down for two days.

MR VALLY: If we work till six we may finish, if the panel is available and if my learned friends are available.

CHAIRPERSON: I don't know if we are available, all of us. The panel has been depleted by one member in circumstances which are not very clear to me at the moment. Let's tentatively work until half past four and then we'll see. Other counsel? Mr du Plessis?

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairperson, there are probably certain aspects in re-examination, if I may call it that, that we will in any case ask to stand over until tomorrow.


MR VALLY: Well if we could move on to Annexure J of the documents you provided us with. Now this is a letter of demand as you are aware. I'm talking about J1 as well as J2, sorry, J1 is the letter of demand, I beg your pardon.

DR KNOBEL: Is that from Viljoen, French and Co?

MR VALLY: That's correct.

DR KNOBEL: I've got it.

MR VALLY: The 3rd paragraph, he refers to you as coordinator of the Baxil Project, Baxil we know is the code name for ecstasy.

DR KNOBEL: Yes, Sir.

MR VALLY: On what basis would they say that?

DR KNOBEL: May I just point out Mr Vally ...[intervention]


DR KNOBEL: You keep on saying this. Baxil to me did not mean ecstasy, let me make it very clear to you. Baxil was the product which is on the letter that I wrote in reply to a quotation for that formula which is written on that letter and which Doctor Koekemoer testified was not ecstasy, so please don't put words in my mouth. I did not sign an order for ecstasy. I signed an order for a product of which there's a formula there and which I was told is an incapacitating or a potential incapacitating agent.

MR VALLY: We had Doctor Koekemoer who testified that Baxil was the code name they used for MDMA which is called ecstasy.

DR KNOBEL: I've read the testimony of Doctor Koekemoer ...[intervention]

MR VALLY: And if you recall he said that formula seemed to be non-sensical.

DR KNOBEL: Well he may have said that but it wasn't non-sensical to me Mr Vally.

MR VALLY: Where did you get the formula from Doctor Knobel?

DR KNOBEL: That letter was drawn up by Brigadier Basson, as you could see from the top of the letter and I was informed that that was the incapacitating agent that they were going to study.

MR VALLY: So you were merely given a document with a formula that you don't understand with the name Baxil?

DR KNOBEL: Which my expert with a Master's Degree in Chemistry told me was an incapacitating agent.

MR VALLY: Alright, this is Brigadier Basson?


MR VALLY: And you accepted that?


MR VALLY: You've heard evidence by a number of people who said that Baxil was the code name for MDM ...[intervention]

DR KNOBEL: I've heard that evidence.

MR VALLY: ...[indistinct] or ecstasy.

DR KNOBEL: I've heard that evidence.

MR VALLY: And it's on that basis that I'm saying this.

DR KNOBEL: If it's on that basis it's fine but I don't want you to indicate that I knowingly ordered ecstasy to be produced.

MR VALLY: Well, you are aware ...[intervention]

DR KNOBEL: With the emphasis on the word knowingly.

MR VALLY: You are aware that there were concerns raised by Doctor Koekemoer?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, I heard, I heard that, I read that in his testimony.

MR VALLY: And you are aware that he went as far as talking to General Neethling about it?

DR KNOBEL: I didn't know that he had done it at the time Mr Vally, I read that in his evidence.

MR VALLY: I see. In any event, the first question, paragraph 3 of this letter, why did he believe that you were the coordinator of the project?

DR KNOBEL: I have no idea.

MR VALLY: Clearly from what he says here, he's threatening to go public unless the money which is allegedly owed to him is paid and to quote him:

"The abovementioned project was of an extremely sensitive nature and could have far reaching political ramifications should this matter have to go to Court and evidence be made available to the press and the general public"

Now, why would this issue be this sensitive, that it would have political ramifications and it would be sensitive, if Baxil was just any incapacitant like CR or CS gas?

DR KNOBEL: I gathered that the sensitivity was around the fact that this man had imported through his organisation a substance which was prohibited and which we were studying to make an incapacitant out of, and that he considered that international legal process to be of such a sensitive nature, that's how I understood it.

Let me just say that Mr Jerry Brandt phoned me repeatedly before this letter arrived, having tried to get Brigadier Basson to settle the account. And if you will look at the dates here you will see that it took yet another year before the account was actually settlement, and it was because of the fact that Brigadier Basson was involved in the process in Switzerland at the time.

MR VALLY: An order is placed with you, with Doctor Mijburgh and you point out, we're talking about TRC77(a).


MR VALLY: With Brigadier Basson's reference up there, where he specifically says regarding the manufacture of this particular substance:

"Are you going to indemnify us against any prosecution"


MR VALLY: Sorry, your reply is that:

"We can only indemnify you once you've delivered it"

DR KNOBEL: Correct.

MR VALLY: Now did you have such queries about any other product that you people were busy with?

DR KNOBEL: All the incapacitants that we were dealing with were such types of substances.

MR VALLY: Did get any request?

DR KNOBEL: No, this was the only one that I got and the information that was given to me, that some of the scientists that were going to work on this had some reservations about this and they wanted to have confirmation that this was approved at the top level.

MR VALLY: And why were they concerned, what were the reservations?

DR KNOBEL: I've said to you that all the incapacitants that we were studying, the cannabis, the BZ and the methaqualone and this substance were all restricted substances in terms of ...[intervention]

MR VALLY: Yes, but the question is, why all this concern around Baxil?

DR KNOBEL: I've tried to explain to you that the information that was given to me was that one of the scientists or the scientists that were going to work with it at Delta G had indicated that they wanted an assurance that this order came from the Coordinating Management Committee.

MR VALLY: Did you not make further enquiries, especially since you're not a chemist, why were they so concerned about this particular product?

DR KNOBEL: Not any more than I've already said to you. I was aware that they were restricted substances and I was satisfied that this scientist had a good reason to want re-assurance.

MR VALLY: Because this is the very same substance which this attorney threatens to go public on and says there will be far reaching political ramifications. No alarm bells?

DR KNOBEL: This is March 1994 Mr Vally.

MR VALLY: That's the second one yes, sure. By this stage information had come out already ...[intervention]

DR KNOBEL: And the other one was February '94.


DR KNOBEL: That's a year later.

MR VALLY: No, the first one, the indemnity requested was August 1992.

DR KNOBEL: Yes, I understand but you're referring to this demand from Mr Brandt's lawyer's, that was a year later. By that time as I had testified already, we had informed the President that we were very concerned about Basson. We made it clear to him that we had realised that there was something seriously wrong. In February '94 was at the time of the demarche.

MR VALLY: If you can advise me as to why in November 1994 after the demarche and you were concerned, Brigadier Basson is still writing to you, and I refer to J2, regarding the claim by Mr Brandt? This is after you were concerned, after the demarche.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct, but it relates to a decision by the Coordinating Management Committee - let me just find that place and I'll show you, I want to show you two documents, if you look at the Coordinating Management Committee Meeting ...[intervention]

MR VALLY: Can you give me the reference please?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, let me just find the place Mr Vally. Could you just give me a moment because there is a document which it refers to, 24th of January - let me just see where it is dealt with, at the meeting of the 2nd of December 1994, I'm working backwards now but let me just deal with that one first Mr Vally, you'll see that the outstanding claim of Jerry Brandt is discussed there in paragraph 2. Now where it says there:

"The background of the claim is discussed by Brigadier Basson"

and there's a decision about what should be paid.

MR VALLY: ...[inaudible]

DR KNOBEL: Well, it's the Minutes of the Special Coordinating Management Committee held on the 2nd of December 1994.

MR VALLY: ...[inaudible]


CHAIRPERSON: You're not on the record Mr Vally.

MR VALLY: I beg your pardon. Maybe you can just read that section into the record.

DR KNOBEL: You have it in front of you though.

MR VALLY: I've got from J1 to J5.

DR KNOBEL: You have in J, you have meeting held on the 29th of March '94.


DR KNOBEL: If you page through that document you get to a next meeting called: "A Special Coordinating Management Meeting".

MR VALLY: Yes, I see it now, thank you.

DR KNOBEL: Now at that meeting, it says:

"Brigadier Basson sketched the background of the claim of R350 000"

When this was discussed at the Coordinating Management Committee meeting, both myself and the Chief of the Defence Force wanted more background about exactly what work was done and what did it constitute and whether it was a fair amount of money to be paid. For that purpose Brigadier Basson was asked to obtain from Doctor Koekemoer, an explanation of the process that he had used and to what value it was for Delta G Scientific to get this information from Jerry Brandt.

Now the document that you are referring me to dated the 24th of November was sent to me by Doctor Basson in reply to that request from the Coordinating Management Committee with added to it the explanation of Doctor Koekemoer what he calls:

"A cost evaluation of the two routes for the preparation of that product"

So this document that you are referring to then served at this special meeting and it was a special meeting because by this time we had delayed the payment of that amount of money by almost a year and it had to finalised, and therefore the meeting of the Special Committee took place on the 2nd of December, about a week after we received this document and then the decision was taken what could be paid.

MR VALLY: What is PMK?

DR KNOBEL: I beg your pardon?

MR VALLY: There's to payment for a formula, there's also reference to the delivery of PMK. We're talking a sum of ...[intervention]

DR KNOBEL: But would you please tell me where this document is?

MR VALLY: Certainly. If you look at the letter addressed to you dated the 22nd of March 1994, and then there's reference there to a previous letter dated the 19th of February which is addressed to Sefmed Information Systems. Do you see the letter I'm talking about?

DR KNOBEL: Let me just find that.

MR VALLY: Look at the annexure to J1.

DR KNOBEL: I think I've got it. Is it the letter of Viljoen, French and ...[indistinct]?

MR VALLY: Same attorneys.

DR KNOBEL: Ja. I've no idea what that is, that is some code that they probably used for the same product, I'm not sure.


"It is our instructions that in terms of an agreement reached between our client and yourselves, the formula for the manufacture of PMK was sold to yourselves for an amount of $100 000"

DR KNOBEL: But ourselves is the Sefmed Information Systems.

MR VALLY: I understand that. Do you know the company Sefmed at all?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, I've heard of it.

MR VALLY: Is it a front company of the Defence Force?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, originally it was as far I remember. And you know that we've discussed this ...[indistinct] front of it.

MR VALLY: I beg your pardon?

DR KNOBEL: We've discussed the situation of what was front companies and what was not front companies.

MR VALLY: And do you know who the directors of this company are?

DR KNOBEL: No idea.

MR VALLY: There is also in that same letter to Sefmed, on page 2, there's also a claim of:

"A sum of R119 157 due to our clients in respect of the fourth delivery of PMK to you"

Do you see that?

DR KNOBEL: I see that, yes.

MR VALLY: In his letter, J1, the letter to you, he referred to his letter of demand to Sefmed Information Systems, which we heard from you at one stage was a front company for the Defence Force. In the very next sentence he says he's addressing the letter to you in your capacity as coordinator of the Baxil Project.


MR VALLY: The minutes of the meeting of the 2nd of December 1994, a special meeting you referred me to just now, you in the meeting of the Coordinating Management Committee with General Meiring present, yourself, Lieutenant General van Breedts, General Major Brocker, Brigadier Koertzen, Brigadier Basson and Colonel Steyn, agree to pay R350 000.


MR VALLY: What were you agreeing to pay R350 000 for?

DR KNOBEL: You mean R250 000?

MR VALLY: I beg your pardon, the claim that - alright, He says:

"The demand was R350 000 but we agreed to pay R250 000"


MR VALLY: Can you tell us what that was for?

DR KNOBEL: That was for the product that had been imported to South Africa through Organochem by Jerry Brandt as well as for the formula that he provided and which Koekemoer comments about.

MR VALLY: When you say: "Koekemoer comments about", is it the ...[intervention]

DR KNOBEL: The route that was followed, the scientific ...[intervention]

MR VALLY: The baxil formula?


MR VALLY: What Doctor Koekemoer advised us was ecstasy, is that what you're referring to?

DR KNOBEL: That's what I'm referring to, yes.

MR VALLY: So can we assume that the PMK being referred to is also ecstasy?

DR KNOBEL: No, Mr Vally, I don't know whether we can assume that at all, I'm not sure.

MR VALLY: Well I'm trying to work it out you know. R250 000 of taxpayers money went to pay for a product of which we only know the code name and we also got a delivery of the product which was a fourth delivery, according to the letter to Sefmed which was a military front company.


MR VALLY: And if you're referring to Doctor Koekemoer, the formula he was given and the product he made was ecstasy, he told us that.

DR KNOBEL: That's correct.

MR VALLY: So is that the formula we're talking about?

DR KNOBEL: I suppose so Mr Vally.

MR VALLY: So are we to assume that not only were we manufacturing ecstasy ourselves but we were also importing ecstasy?

DR KNOBEL: No, I'm not saying that at all, I'm saying ...[intervention]

MR VALLY: Well, that's what I'm trying to find out.

DR KNOBEL: Well Mr Vally, I've tried to say to you before that both with the methaqualone and with other products we were trying to get pure basic ground substances so that we could use it to produce an incapacitating agent. This is the information that was given to me and to the Coordinating Management Committee, that this man had not only imported substances to us, and he did so illegally and he did so from Britain, but also he provided us with a particular formula.

When the Coordinating Management Committee wasn't satisfied with that explanation they said: "We want a written document where the scientists at Delta G informs us of whether this in fact saved this country money, yes indeed, is it a good price to pay". And that is the document that you referred me to, which was discussed at the Coordinating Management Committee. On the basis of that it was decided to pay this man.

And you will notice that Basson indicated that R250 000 would be correct. I questions that, I said: "What did he quote you before and what did you agree to pay"? And is at the end of that special meeting, you will see my remarks there with reference to paragraph 2:

"It is recommended that the amount be decided on afresh"

And in the end the Coordinating Management Committee Meeting agreed that this man's delivery of a product as well as of a formula was valuable and deserved to be paid the amount that he had asked us to pay. That is what was ultimately agreed to and which was paid.

And as you yourself indicated, at this meeting was present, not only the Chief of Staff Finance, the Acting Chief of Staff Finance but also Brigadier Koertzen who I explained to you before in my testimony last time was the expert on financial aspects of Project Coast. We had him there so as to advise us as to the reasonableness of paying that amount.

MR VALLY: The only expert you had from the chemical side was Brigadier Basson again?

DR KNOBEL: That's correct. And later on Colonel Steyn of course.

MR VALLY: Well Colonel Steyn's name is on there.


MR VALLY: But Colonel Steyn and Brigadier Basson worked together at various times?

DR KNOBEL: Mr Vally, you and I ...[intervention]

MR VALLY: I'm asking you a question ...[intervention]

DR KNOBEL: You and I are also working together now and I worked with Colonel Steyn, are you now suggesting that I couldn't have trusted Colonel Steyn either?

MR VALLY: No, my question is very simple, that this Coordinating Management Committee agreed to pay R250 000 for a formula and for a substance which they knew nothing about except Brigadier Basson, is that correct?

DR KNOBEL: Yes, that's correct. But we had some documentation also from Doctor Koekemoer. Have you read the document of Doctor Koekemoer where he in fact says that this saved us a lot of money?

MR VALLY: Doctor Koekemoer was very nervous about making ecstasy and went to see General Neethling about it.

DR KNOBEL: That may be true but his nervousness does not come out of this document that we had in front of us at the Coordinating Management Committee, there he gives us the facts that we asked him for.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm certainly nervous about whether or not we are going to be finishing today and that having been your invitation Mr Vally, I think this would be a convenient stage to take the adjournment until 9 o'clock and I would hope that by lunchtime we will have finished.

MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chair.

DR KNOBEL: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: We will adjourn until 9 o'clock tomorrow.